I'm having fun with paradoxes, and I'm trying to come up with a catchy word for non-self-descriptive. Maybe "autosemantic" fits the bill for self-descriptive (definitely open to other suggestions!), but I'm having a hard time negating it in a natural way.

For an example of the sentence I'm trying to construct:

Is "inautosemantic" inautosemantic?

It just isn't flowing.

1 Answer 1


I believe you're looking for "autological"/"homological" and their antonym "heterological".

  • 1
    +1 Looks right to me. These aren't words to be used in every-day speech though. In formal writing however, they're great. :)
    – Noldorin
    Feb 5, 2011 at 1:05
  • 1
    If I remember right, heterological was coined exactly for the sake of the paradox you describe :-)
    – PLL
    Feb 5, 2011 at 1:05
  • @Noldorin: You clearly are not engaging in everyday speech with the right people.
    – chaos
    Feb 5, 2011 at 2:31
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    @PLL It's called the Grelling-Nelson paradox, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grelling%E2%80%93Nelson_paradox Feb 5, 2011 at 7:39
  • 1
    So "English" is "autological", but "french" isn't ("francais" would have been, but it's not an English word). Jun 27, 2012 at 3:18

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